line \ˈlīn\ n : a number of persons standing one behind the other and waiting their turns at or for something; queue.

I’ve heard this question many times in my life: “You waited how long?” Followed by the inevitable: “Was it worth it?” And honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever answered that question in the negative. I’ve waited for many an hour on many a line for my pop culture, and it’s totally worth it.

Most recently, I probably waited the longest I ever have on line, outside even, for Standing Room Only tickets to The Book of Mormon. Yes, not only did Emily and I wait eleven hours for tickets to a show we’d already seen, but the tickets we were waiting for entitled us to stand in the back of the theatre for the duration. No seats, no backrest. Just our feet and the seat-backs in front of us to lean on. And it was 100%, no doubt about it, worth it. I obviously knew the show would be worth it. But the wait itself was part of the fun:

Waiting on line is just like going on a roadtrip. Sure, it gets a little uncomfortable, sometimes boring, and long. But just like a roadtrip, you have to be prepared. Bring activities! Dress appropriately! Start sing-alongs! (You’d think this wouldn’t go over well, but since most of my line-waiting is music related, no one usually throws things at me.) And bring good company. Of course, if you go by yourself, make friends! When you’re waiting on line for something, all the other people on that line want it just as badly as you. They’re your people! Some of them are going to be weirdos, obviously, (I mean, I’m a weirdo), but some of them are going to be awesome. And even if you never talk to them again, you will always have this line.

I’ve waited on line for Broadway shows (obvi), signings (BBMak, Carol Channing, Patti LuPone), comedy shows (UCB), drag queens (Drag Race), midnight movie releases (HP), concerts (Adam Lambert), rollercoasters (Kingda Ka), after parties (*NSYNC), and screenings (HP), among other things. I even waited in line for a Harry Potter book release and wasn’t even buying the book. (I’m a fancypants and ordered the UK publications from Amazon.) So, if you’d rather take a plane somewhere or pay for the luxury of a seat, I’ll meet you on the other side. And while I’m waiting for you, I’ll pass the time with a good round of “Going on a Picnic.”

providence \ˈprä-və-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\ n : the foreseeing care and guidance of god or nature over the creatures of the earth

This weekend, my improv group, Dumpster Tequila, went on a road trip. And I have to say, it was just magical. In improv, there’s a thing called “group mind,” which is when everyone in the group is so linked in their collective consciousness, they instinctively know what moves the others are going to make. Well, it’s like Providence and Dumpster Tequila had developed some sort of group mind. We knew where to go, and it knew where to take us.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast in NYC, we hopped on the bus to Providence (after the Aaron Carter dance party in line, of course). Many rounds of Scrabble and road trip games ensued, and of course we got yelled at for being too loud. Sorry ‘bout it. Anyway, it quickly came to my attention that, though I was the one who brought it up in the planning of the trip, I hadn’t brought my bathing suit, while mostly everyone else had. You guys, I love swimming. I was devastated. But wouldn’t you know it, there was a mall within walking distance of our hotel (Providence!).

Everyone knows bathing suit shopping sucks balls. And this was no exception. There was barely anything for me to try on. At the second store I went to, I was about to settle for an ugly, too-expensive mom bathing suit, when I saw it. Right by the register, shining like a blue beacon. An adorable suit in my size that was ten dollars cheaper. After a quick trip to the dressing room, where it obviously fit, I bought it, only to find out it was on sale (Providence!).

After a delicious dinner in a fun bar with a weirdo painting of dead musical legends in a Last Supper-like pose (a smiling Kurt Cobain next to John Lennon with Biggie standing nearby), we took our swim. Later that night, we had a great show, but little did we know, the best was yet to come. As we came out of the beautiful theatre, we heard music. Not just any music, but…a marching band? Sure enough, we rounded the corner and saw a huge group of people spilling into the street being lead by a brass band. We quickly followed them into a park and were treated to an amazing impromptu encore by a band (we later found out) called What Cheer? Brigade. We stuck around dancing (though not as joyously as the band’s fans) until the cops came. It was maybe one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of (Providence!).

Sunday, after a delicious brunch, we stumbled upon an amazing art project done by a group called Tape Art for the 375th anniversary of the city. They are making a mural inside an outdoor ice rink out of tape and plywood. We took lots of pictures and talked to the artists. They work on their pieces for weeks, but once complete, they’re only up for twenty-four hours. This will be done tomorrow and gone by Thursday. How lucky we got to see it (Providence!).

And after walking around seeing all the old houses, Brown University (No, Emma Watson doesn’t go there anymore), and the State House, our perfect road trip had to come to a perfect end. And even the most perfect road trip isn’t without its setbacks. Our three and a half hour bus trip home? It took five and a half hours. Thanks, Providence!

excitement \ik-ˈsīt-mənt\ n : 1. an excited state or condition 2. something that excites

Obligatory reference to how long it’s been since I’ve blogged.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to more important things. Words cannot even
describe how excited I am. After almost twenty years of hope and several months of planning, yesterday I bought tickets to see the stage show of Newsies. I blogged about this two posts ago (which was four months ago :-/), but now it’s actually happening. In October, Emily, my Newsies friend Katie, my sister Maureen, and I will be seeing the Working Boys of New York live on stage.

One of the best parts of all of this — from Disney announcing they were working on a stage version, to Paper Mill announcing their fall season, to me announcing I bought my tickets — is the reaction of my friends. Everyone is so happy for ME. Not for Disney, not for Alan Menken, not even for the actors who were cast in the show. Me. There are so many comments of “It’s finally happening for you!,” and “Enjoy!,” and “You’ve wanted this for so long!” But mostly people are saying, “I hope for their sake it’s good, because I wouldn’t want to see you if it’s bad.” And I can’t say that I blame them.

I recently saw Sister Act the Musical on Broadway. Now I love the movies (yes both of them). But I can’t say I loved the musical. And I had been really excited for it. I ended up seeing it twice (the first time for free), and while I enjoyed it more the second time, it still didn’t hit for me. They made so many changes I felt were unnecessary. Some were just baffling, like moving the story to 1970s Philadelphia. And some made me really angry, like the way the services turned into a cheap stage show, instead of just becoming refreshingly modern. If the changes to Sister Act could get me this upset, I can only imagine what damage could be done to Newsies.

So, here are some things I would like to see in the Newsies stage show:

*Tighten up the ending; it’s weird.

*Either expand or remove the Sarah character. And get an actress who can act.

*Keep as true to the choreography as possible. Or just hire Kenny Ortega.

*I would be fine with getting rid of Medda and her songs.

*For god’s sake, keep the Prologue.

*Amazing new songs.

*Someone singing the shit out of Patrick’s Mother’s solo.

*Magic/Children smoking.

Don’t screw it up, or I’ll soak ya!

chief \ˈchēf\ n : the head or leader of an organized body of people; the person highest in authority

It’s Presidents’ Day, a day in America where we celebrate the 44 men (MEN) who have held the highest office in our government. Also, a day for mattress sales. Why are there so many mattress sales? Anyway, like Africa and the Bible, the Presidents are one of my weaknesses when it comes to trivia. And don’t even bother with Vice Presidents. I have a few stock answers that are almost sure to be incorrect. Mostly, I like to answer “James K. Polk” because it’s fun to say. Here’s an interesting tidbit for you though: Grover Cleveland was the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. I know this because in fifth grade, I did a report on Benjamin Harrison, who served in between those terms. Would that that were my Final Jeopardy question. Ah, well.

When it comes to fictional presidents, two come to mind. Well, three, but I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t watch The West Wing. I have nothing against it, and I’m sure I’d love it if I did. But there it is. Someday I will, I’m sure. No, Jed Bartlet is not who I think of first. I first think of President Andrew Shepherd, portrayed by Michael Douglas in The American President. Interestingly, this was also penned by Andrew Sorkin and Martin Sheen plays the Chief of Staff. It’s so good. I mean, he’s just the President standing in front of a lobbyist, asking her to love him. Oh, wait…that’s Notting Hill.

Anyway, the other fake President I love is not really a President at all. In a Prince and the Pauper-like twist, the movie Dave has Dave Kovic, portrayed by Kevin Klein, taking the place of the President when he has a heart attack and goes into a coma. Don’t worry, he’s a terrible person, not to mention a bad President. But Dave gets in there and makes some real headway, balancing the budget to make room for homeless shelter programs (where is this guy when you need him?!). Until he gets tired of the corruption and fakes his death, though the real President does die. Then Dave returns to his regular life. But don’t feel bad, he and the dead President’s wife are in love.

Then there are so many other fake Presidents to remember: Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore from Independence Day, Harrison Ford’s President Marshall in Air Force One, Dennis Haysbert as President Palmer from 24, and who could forget James Naughton as President Davenport from First Kid. You know, I’m starting to realize why I don’t really know that much about actual Presidents. Perhaps I should go watch that John Addams miniseries.

love \ˈləv\ n : strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything

It’s a Valentine’s Day miracle! The most amazing thing has happened. No, I didn’t run into Jonathan Taylor Thomas on the street, making him fall in love with me. And no, *NSYNC isn’t reuniting. And we all know I didn’t get a call to come in for a Jeopardy interview. But something about as amazing as all of those things was announced today. In the fall, Paper Mill Playhouse will be starting their season with a production of Newsies!!! And while it’s not Broadway, Paper Mill is a well-respected and amazing theatre in New Jersey. Holy crap.

I can’t really say why this is so amazing, but trust me, it is. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved Newsies. I was nine when it came out, and after that it was on Disney channel nonstop. The songs, the story, and the boys were all a part of my childhood. Newsies planted in my head that New York was cool, even in the days of child labor. Brooklyn was tough, and Spot Conlon was a hottie. That’s where I wanted to be, and that’s where I live now. Speaking of, where’s my Spot Conlon? I guess I don’t hang out at the docks enough. Maybe I should buy a sling shot.

Anyway, as soon as I heard this news (Ha! News.), there was one person I needed to share it with: my friend Katie. Katie and I are friends because of Newsies. To make a long story short, we went to different high schools and got in a fight at a Speech team tournament about whether one of my classmates looked like Spot (he didn’t). Then she invited me to go swing dancing. Because it was 1999, and we had a mutual love of Swing Kids, obvi. We’ve been friends ever since, and while our relationship is more than Christian Bale movies, that was the catalyst.

And so, come fall many worlds will collide. This old idea of New York I’ve had in my head since I was nine will meet my current life in New York. I’ll be able to share Newsies with Emily for our Vlog, and also share it once again with Katie, but in a much different way. So, no pressure Alan Menken and Harvey Fierstein, but this show better not suck. You’ve got my childhood, friendships, and life choices in your hands.

P.S. If you need someone to sing Patrick’s Mom in Carrying the Banner, I’d be more than happy to help!

fail \ˈfāl\ v : 1. to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved 2. to receive less than the passing grade or mark in an examination, class, or course of study

Well, I can pretty much guarantee I’m not going to be on the next season of Jeopardy.

So, Jeopardy used to have “contestant searches,” where I’m assuming you would go to a conference center and take a written test. Then for a while, they also had a “Brain Bus” that would go to cities. You could play a game, and possibly qualify to take the test. Like the Cash Cab? (Dream Spoiler Alert: You can’t just “catch” the Cash Cab. You agree to appear on a TV show; you just don’t know it’s Cash Cab. Then the cab arrives to take you to wherever the producers told you to go.) But now, it’s all done online. And today was one of the online tests. And I failed it. I failed it like it was an Honors Physics test from junior year (Physics is Phun! Right, Doc I?).

Clearly, pop culture is one of my strengths, but I am a woman of diverse interests. I’m also pretty smart. And I’m also self-aware. I know my weaknesses. And when the first clue popped up (There are 50 clues, and you have 15 seconds per clue), my heart stopped. Something about an Algerian author. Crap. Africa. I hate to say this, but the entire continent of Africa is my weak spot. My weakest spot. I mean, I blame myself but I also blame our school system. What do we ever learn about Africa in general education classes. Pretty much nothing. Ummm…What is “I have no idea whatsoever”?

I did get a handful correct. One was a clue about Debussy. Being a music major, it would have been pretty unforgivable to get that one wrong. I also got the wordplay ones right, some Spanish translation and another about “raining cats and dogs.” Also, if you’re ever asked about a Swedish Actress, Ingrid Bergman will be the response. 95% of the time. I made up that statistic. The one I’m most proud of getting correct though came from another of my weak spots: the Bible. I know you’re shocked. But I got it right! Because the answer is in a song. Ha. The clue was about an archeologist wanting to find the site of a Biblical city where walls came down. Thanks, choir! What is “Jericho”?!

Unfortunately, there were many more clues like the Algerian author than Jericho, and I was just no match for Trebek and his Clue Crew. But I remembered a lot of the clues I couldn’t answer, looked them up, and now know. And here’s a map of Africa, just for good measure:

P.S I also hope they change the questions for the other online tests becuase I just gave away a lot of answers. Whoops.

harmony \ˈhär-mə-nē\ n : a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity

Hey y’all. I’m back. Sorry about the laziness. Oprah’s trying to help me through it, but I’m really stubborn.

Anyway, there has been a lot of crazy pop culture happening lately: the Super Bowl and all it included (hang in there, Xtina!), blizzards, Ricky Gervais at the Globes, etc. But tonight, I want to talk about two of my favorite things, which have come together so perfectly I couldn’t be a happier hag. Of course, those two things are ANTM and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Now, I was super super excited for Drag Race to be back. It’s hard to put into words how much I love that show. And imagine my surprise and delight, when watching the casting special, I realized that one of the contestants is none other than Sutan (Drag name: Raja), the make-up artist from Top Model! And Adam Lambert was in her audition video! Fabulous! Sutan had appeared as Raja on Top Model at least once before, maybe twice. And it was clear in that first episode she was going to do Tyra proud.

What a better way to learn how to be a great drag queen than from ANTM? Take a look at cycle 14, where Tyra herself wore nothing but jumpsuits. No seriously, take a look. They’re all on this Web site. Tell me she doesn’t look like a drag queen in half of those pictures. And her tuck isn’t even that good. Not to mention all the drag queen-esque contestants, including Jaeda (Remember her? Awful) and one winner: Jaslene “Cha-cha Diva.”

Here’s the best part of the whole thing: if (when) Raja wins, she’ll be far more present in entertainment than any of the Top Models. I’m not saying they’re not successful, but with the exception of “Top Models in Action,” have you ever seen one of their CoverGirl commercials? And remember when they started doing the double covers of Seventeen? The ANTM winner on one side and Selena Gomez or whoever on the other. But I see info on shows past drag racers are doing all the time. And the Absolut ads are on Logo continuously. Why doesn’t the CW run the models CG ads like that? Who knows.

Maybe Cycle 16 (Yes. 16!), starting February 23rd, will finally give us a “Top Model,” who can lend her pretty face to some actor’s love life and political causes. Plus shoot a Disney TV movie (Life Size, anyone?). And maybe Cycle 16 will bring one last Raja appearance before she got too big even for Tyra.

unsuitable \ˌənˈsü-tə-bəl\ adj : not suitable; inappropriate; unfitting; unbecoming

So, the Golden Globes nominations were announced today.  You know I love awards shows; I don’t really know why, but I do.  I was pretty excited about it, but then I saw the nominees.  They were pretty wacky, but there are really just two things I want to address in this post.  And both of those have to do with the fact that Burlesque was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.  Yes, Burlesque.  You know, the one I saw in a theater full of gays, who alternated between clapping at Cher’s singing/wigs and laughing at the terrible dialogue and acting.  It could win a Golden Globe.

My first issue with this is the category itself.  For Suri Cruise’s sake, why are musicals and comedies lumped together, Hollywood Foreign Press Association?!  This is not the 1940s.  The “Musical Comedy” is still a thing, yes, but it’s now only part of a growing genre that includes Genre Musicals, Rock Operas, and Jukebox Musicals, all of which could be either dramtic or comedic.  Sometimes, HFPA, they’re both!  Just like other movies!  Let’s take a look, shall we, at some other musicals nominated for Golden Globes and what their competition was:

1983: Yentl won, beating The Big Chill, Flashdance, Trading Places, and Zelig
1996: Evita won, beating The Birdcage, Everyone Says I Love You, Fargo, and Jerry Maguire
2001: Moulin Rouge! won, beating Bridget Jones’s Diary, Gosford Park, Legally Blonde, and Shrek
2007: Sweeney Todd won, beating Across the Universe, Charlie Wilson’s War, Hairspray, and Juno

So, I’m not saying those movies weren’t deserving or weren’t better than those that they beat, but if you’re going to categorize movies by Drama or Comedy, go all the ‘effing way!  Hairspray and Everyone Says I Love You? Those fit in the comedy category, if you ask me.  The four winners?  Not so much.  Burlesque, unless you’re talking about how unintentionally comical it was, doesn’t belong in this category either.

Of course, it doesn’t really deserve to be nominated at all.  I mean, I’m not saying that this movie wasn’t amazing and that I didn’t love it, because it was and I did.  But there’s a difference between a movie being good and being quality.  Quality it was not.  Two of the songs were nominated, and I’m all for that.  One, written by pop balladeer extraordinaire Diane Warren, fit into the movie about as well as the movie fit into this category.  But it was a great song, and Cher did her amazing Cher thing with it.  Unfortunately, as a movie, its spot should have been taken by some other movie.  I can’t speak for the other nominees, as I didn’t see them (though I have it on good lesbian authority — by two different lesbians — that The Kids Are All Right was terrible).  But I can tell you Burlesque’s slot could have been given to any number of other movies.  For example, HFPA loves an adult rom-com.  How about Date Night?  Or for a little edge, what about Kick-Ass.  That movie was amazing.  Or even a Hangover-esque shocker in nominating Hot Tub Time Machine?  I mean, if you’re going to nominate a ridiculous movie, at least make it one that was supposed to be hilarious.  And on that note, I leave you with this scene from Burlesque.  Try not to laugh:

highlight \ˈhī-ˌlīt\ n : an important, conspicuous, memorable, or enjoyable event, scene, part, or the like

I have been bad. It’s been almost two weeks since my last post.  Fail.  Sorry, dudes.  I’ve experienced so much pop culture since then, I’m going to give you the highlights.  As I sit here listening to the Christmas music channel on digital cable (why do I always forget about those music channels?!), let’s look back on the past two weeks, shall we?

When last we talked, it was about Prince William’s engagement.  Well, he tried to steal the thunder of another Brit, but he was unsuccessful: HP7: Part 1 opened on the 19th, and I went to a midnight showing.  You know, I just realized how annoying it is that the movies aren’t numerically symmetrical with the books, what with seven being the most magical number.  Right, Jo?  That being said, I liked the movie.  The action sequences were good.  Though, the first movie didn’t quite make the case that a split was necessary.  It was a little too slow, so for it to be worth it for me, the second movie better not leave out any detail.  Again, though, I did enjoy it.  Especially Godric’s Hollow and Malfoy Manor.  Okay, HP geeking out is over now.

The second pop culture event I took part in was seeing the Broadway musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  I’ll try to refrain from fagging out here (there will be plenty of time for that later), but the cast of this hot mess is amazing.  Patti LuPone, Sherie Rene Scott, Laura Benanti, Brian Stokes Mitchell…  If those names mean nothing to you, you should be ashamed.  This one should be familiar though: Justin Guarini!  Yep, that curly-haired moptop from season one of American Idol.  Anyway, if you love crazy trainwrecks, see this show.  It’s amazing.

The next big event (commence fagging out) was a midnight showing of Burlesque in Chelsea!  Oh.  My.  God.  That movie was amazing.  I don’t know if it was bad enough to be of Showgirls calibur, but it was pretty terrible.  And also fabulous.  The production numbers!  Cher!  Xtina!  And the fact that there was only one true burlesque number performed!  The rest were just girls doing hip-hop/jazz hybrid dances in underwear.  The audience applauded after each one, and laughed at the terrible writing/acting, which one woman got very upset about.  She kept asking her boyfriend (?), “What is so funny?  I’m not getting it.  Am I missing something?”  Brilliant.

Then there came Thanksgiving.  I spent the morning baking and watching my friends from Memphis perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (I hate the lip-syncing that happens during that parade).  I spent the afternoon/evening with my sister, sister-in-law, nephew, our Brooklyn family, and Emily.  That is a day to be thankful for.  Here are my pies:

Saturday, we went to the Christmas tree farm, and picked out two beautiful trees: one for me and one for my sister’s family.  My nephew was absolutely enamored with everything Christmas: Santa, snowmen, reindeer, etc.  And yesterday, I spent all day watching Fa La La La Lifetime movies (A Diva’s Christmas Carol?  Yes, please!) and decorating my tree.  As with last year, my tree is decorated with some cheap 99¢ store ornaments, but mostly handmade ones cut out from my Entertainment Weeklys, with Ellen Degeneres serving as my angel (as she is everyone’s).  This year, there were some new additions joining last year’s Tina Fey, Bones and Booth, Heidi Montag, Lady Gaga, and others.  My tree is proud to name these amongst its occupants: the Gilmore Girls, Cher, Justin Bieber, RuPaul, and Melissa and Joey.  ‘Tis the season!  Here’s a pic:

princess \ˈprin(t)-səs\ n : 1. a nonreigning female member of a royal family. 3. the consort of a prince.

Contrary to what fairy tales like Cinderella, (terrible) movies like The Prince & Me, and even some people’s real lives like Grace Kelly having been telling me all my life, I guess this regular girl is not going to be a princess.  Not Prince Willam’s princess anyway.  It finally happened: Wills and Catherine “Kate” Middleton are engaged.  (Does anyone else find it weird that she spells Catherine with a C but Kate with a K?  No?  Just me?  Okay.)  So just like my mom did when Diana got married, and just like I did when Diana died, I’ll wake up at some ungodly hour to watch it all go down across the pond, and for those few hours wish I were British.

I’ve always been a bit of an Anglophile.  I’m a big fan of Brit Lit, contemporary and classic: Harry Potter, all Jane Austen.  And their pop music has always been fantastic — Why does America hate dance music so much?!  And while I’m not one of those crazies who know/follow everything the Royals do, I did love Diana.  (Sorry, Wills, this blog post about you is going to be about your mom too.  You know how it goes.)  I was fourteen when she died, so not only did I have the romanticized view of her as everyone else, I also had this teen angst connection with her.  You know: they didn’t understand her, and she was so strong.  Who knows how much of what we know about her is true, but I know one thing.  In 1997, they made a Beanie Baby in her memory.  And in 1997, there could be no greater honor.

The press was pretty kind to William and Harry after that, and we only saw them occasionally, especially stateside, I’m sure.  But I did notice that William was getting super cute (as would Harry eventually, minus that Nazi thing…).  And in 2000, I just happened to be in England when Williamania hit, i.e. his 18th birthday.  There were so many specials on Brit TV.  And he did his first official photo shoot, allowing cameras into Eton.  There were pictures of him cooking!  And in a Union Jack vest!  This was also when I first learned the term “prefect,” which would come in handy when I started reading HP the following fall.  I also looked up if I, as an American, could marry him.  Yep.  If I’m remembering correctly, I could.  I think I could even be Queen because the King is more in charge or whatever.  The only hitch was, I was a confirmed Catholic, so I’d have to get excommunicated.  For Wills, I would have done it.

Alas, it seems it is not to be.  I never did do that semester abroad at St. Andrews I fantasized about.  (Fun fact: Jonathan Taylor Thomas also did a semester there.)  Had I, perhaps it would be our engagement the Prince of Wales would be announcing.  At least that’s how it went in my dreams.  Instead, I’ll just have to be content waking up to watch his wedding at 3:00am. 

Oh, and here is the “Prince William” section from my magazine collection: